/Facebook’s Tussle With Australia Over News Is Just the Beginning – The Wall Street Journal

Facebook’s Tussle With Australia Over News Is Just the Beginning – The Wall Street Journal


Facebook Inc.’s battle with publishers and regulators around the world over how the social-media giant handles news is far from finished after striking an agreement this week with the Australian government to pay for content.

The agreement Facebook reached Tuesday with Australia’s government to restore news content to its platform comes as political leaders elsewhere have pledged to increase scrutiny on tech giants, and as news outlets also plan to amp up pressure on the company to cut deals. The matter also raises questions about which publishers should get paid for news content and how much.

Facebook’s deal with Australia gives it a path to avoid required payments to publishers for news content, so long as the company works toward reaching agreements with publishers on its own accord.

“We appreciate the government has created flexibility to move forward making deals with publishers, while giving us 30 days’ notice before a designation,” said Campbell Brown, Facebook’s vice president of global news partnerships. If Facebook’s negotiations with individual Australian publishers fail to satisfy the government, the company could reimpose its news ban rather than be forced to comply with the new law’s terms for setting payments.

“I am hopeful there will not be a need for that step,” Ms. Brown said.

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